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Return vistors can go straight to the new questions.

Shodge asks:
I am absolutely disgusted by the smell and taste of lip balm. My wife, however, seems to love the stuff. This is strange because we live in sunny, warm, Southern California and I can see no threat of chapped lips. I have told her I will not kiss her if she is using lip balm, but this won't dissuade her. Can you help?
Your wife is either addicted to lip balm or cheating on you! No loyal wife without addiction would not want to kiss her husband. I suggest holding an intervention so she can stop using lip balm. If that doesn't work, see a good lawyer.

Chuck L. asks:
Every year I have to buy my wife a set of flavored lip balms for the holidays. She claims they last exactly one year, yet I never seeing her using any of it. Do you think she is trying to hide her addiction or could she be dealing?
Also, I use a balm during the dry cold months to relieve dry, cracked lips. Am I in trouble?
There's little doubt that lip balm dealing is an increasinly common occurrance, but I doubt there's much incentive to sell just a tube of the stuff once a year. I think your wife is humoring you. If you don't give it to her, I bet she'll not even notice. With regards to your second question, I don't think you have a problem with lip balm. Some people, like yourself, can use lip balm occasionally and not develop a habit. Others of us aren't so lucky.

Christian H. asks:
Has anyone in your group considered that addiction to a petrochemical, if unchecked, would amount to the problems confronting those suffering from toxic overload, like chronic fatigue ?
In their terms, you would be a well-elaborated example of one facet of simultaneous exposures to many pollutants.
It might strengthen your case to consider their reasoning - either to verify or to refine your observations.
LBA doesn't do research per se, although we'd love to see some research on this topic. But, alas, since the lip balm companies are buying our government representatives through kickbacks and lobby-money, we may never see this research done. Sad, really.

Perplexed of Bangor writes:
I must stress that this problem is not mine, but that of my boyfriend, he has become obsessed! At the beginning of the year I began using lip balm for purely medicinal purposes, as living here in North Wales it is extremely windy, and lips crack very easily. I find that I have no problem not using lip balm when I don't need it, but he began to object. From there the problem escalated, and he began to refuse to kiss me unless I was wearing it, and if the flavour of the day didn't suit him, he would sulk. Now, it seems, lip balm has become the answer to all the world's problems - when the door to his room in his Hall of Residence began to squeak, he oiled it with lip balm, he even sealed his letters to me over the Christmas holiday with it, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he is beginning to use it on other dry areas of skin on his anatomy. I really love this lad, and I don't want to lose him over something this trivial, but I really can't go on like this - please help!
I'm afraid you are going to have to decide on your own whether you will continue to be an enabler or whether you will provide the intervention your boyfriend so desperately needs. However, given you problem, watching Leaving Las Vegas with your boyfriend may not be a good idea.

Rachel F. asks:
A friend once told me that overuse of lip balm could lead to permanent negative side effects, for your lips will stop naturally producing moisture. Is there any validity to this, or is it just an attempt on his part to toy with the mind of a lip balm addict?
Cruel and inhuman friends such as yours are the bane of lip balm addicts everywhere. When are they going to realize that the only way to a cure is love and compassion?

Purdue students went to LBA for help
How's it going, I am the one who e-mailed you yesterday about some stats on lip balm. I just realized I really never introduced myself, therefore my name is Thomas C. and I am a senior at Purdue University. The reason I am searching for stats on lip balm is for a research paper I am currently working on. Therefore if you could send me those stats as soon as possible I would owe you one. Thanks.
We are students at Purdue University who are trying earnestly to develop a lip balm from all natural oils and biodegradable products. Our goal is to create a lip balm that truly moisturizes and does not cause the need for frequent reapplication. Could you possibly assist us with any marketing statistics. Hope this is not an inconvenience-- we thought it would be best to ask the experts!:)
LBA appreciates your efforts to create a non-addictive lip balm. I suppose if they can create "near-beer" they can do the same thing for lip balm. I sent these students some of the statistics which are now available on the Industry of Addiction page. Interesting that two separate parties from Purdue came to LBA's page. I had not received any reports of a high population of addicts in that area, but perhaps they are too far gone to help themselves. I'm sure the research at Purdue will provide some interesting results! Keep LBA informed!

Rosalita asks:
Has anyone ever overdosed on lip balm? Has lip balm ever directly ruined someone's life? Has it been proven to cause any serious side effects? Then what's the harm of one little addiction? If it's the choice between putting a cigarette in your mouth or lip balm on your lips, wouldn't lip balm technically be the better choice?
Of course smoking is worse for you than balming! But as our testimony shows people have had many problems associated with lip balm addiction and since we really don't need the substance why not just give it up? I'd suggest addictions that have no harmful effects (to your body anyway) such as reading, watching movies, or writing Web pages. (Yes, Kevin C. has traded one addiction for another!)

Jennifer L. asks LBA and our members:
I was just wondering if you could ask your members about a lip balm back in the early eighties. I'm trying to trace the history of my addiction. I remember using the slide top lip balm pots with root beer, coconut and even strawberry flavors (sometimes the pots contained TWO flavors--one on either side of the sliding top) and passing them out as party favors as a child, however there is one memory that keeps sticking in my mind, but one that I don't know if it is only a fragment of my imagination. Please tell me, do you or any of your readers remember a LARGE container of bubble gum lip balm? Not of the usual size, probably 6 inches long and the thickness of 4 or so regular sized Chap Sticks? It was pink in color, tasted very good and quite a fad around 1980 if I remember correctly. Please post this so that I may find out if anyone else shares this memory. Thank You!
T. Jay from Suck hasn't used lip balm since 1981 but writes: "Well as an avid lip balm eater from the early 80's, I remember they were called Bonne Belle lip balms, they were huge sticks, and at holidays, one could get a candy cane shaped container that had an assortment of flavors in it... they smelled better than they tasted." Thanks T. Jay!

Elizabeth B. asks:
My new boyfriend has very chapped lips. I'm struggling with my own addiction to lip balm, and don't want to get him hooked, too, so what should I suggest he use instead of lip balm?
He may just have to live with those chapped lips. If you're still using he can get some lip balm by kissing you. I'm sure that would be ok with you, and it might help him forget the pain of his chapped lips!

Darren H. writes:
Every morning when I wake up, my lips are so chapped it hurts. I apply Vaseline on my lips throughout the whole day and before I go to sleep, but the morning is the worst. Will I ever be able to wake up with lips that don't hurt?
Well, if you're applying Vaseline and you're lips are still chapped, it doesn't look like Vaseline is doing the job. Why don't you just go without. Your lips will probably still be chapped for a few days, but soon your body will recover and renew itself. Think of your lips as a clear-cut forest. Take our word for it: your lips will soon be budding anew!

Dan W. writes:
I've been a regular Chap Stick user for about 11 years (I'm now 27), and lately I've been feeling that the habit is becoming a serious problem. It's not just that I use the stick at least once an hour every waking moment of my life (and some sleeping moments too), but now I've developed an odd red ring beneath my lower lip. It's not terribly noticeable, but it is uncomfortable, and sometimes I know people can see it. It's at its worst in the morning, when there is something of a Batman-villain effect. Has anyone else experienced this from Chap Stick? I'd also like to know, what physical symptoms can I expect if I quit cold turkey? I've successfully quit smoking, so I'm sure I have the fortitude to quit this too, but first I will need to know what to expect. When I do go without Chap Stick for an hour or so, my lips become quite painful and dry. How long will this last until my lips can readjust? They will readjust, won't they?
These are serious questions, and I would really appreciate any serious response you can give me. Thanks for providing this useful forum.
Your lips will feel very, very dry for several days, and you'll feel the need to apply lip balm. You might try putting it on only once a day during this time. After about a week of this, you should be ready to go cold turkey. At this point, your lips will return to normal. If you're a liplicker like me, that means that your lips will have a slightly chapped appearance... forever. Of course, during times of inclement weather, your lips may chap something fierce. You will feel the need, and the peer pressure, to use lip balm once again. Resist! Doesn't the peace of mind you will feel overcome any pressure to rid yourself of chapped lips? Be strong in your recovery!

Melissa S. writes:
I have been using Lypsol since I was in grade four. I can't live without it. It is not a serious addiction as far as I can see. It makes my lips feel good. What's so wrong with that? It is not like I will have to go to detox for Chap Stick addiction. I think you people are taking this a little out of control and should realize that there are worse things than Lypsol addiction like alcoholism or drug addiction.
We've never said drug addiction isn't worse than balm addiction. But we're no less harmful than caffeine addiction! And don't be so sure about not needing detox. When you stop using lip balm, the withdrawal effects are very similar to other addictive substances. Some people try to quit but fall off the wagon again and again. If our government authorities and society at large recognized the problem that lip balm addiction causes, you could bet that we'd have detoxification centers popping up everywhere. Sadly, organizations like Lip Balm Anonymous are just an underground movement.

Delia Z. writes:
I have a question. You see, I love lip balms of ANY kind. But the weird thing is I buy them for the containers, not the lip-balm stuff inside(actually I hate the stuff), I can't stand lip balm on my lips. It's just that the containers are so IRRESISTIBLE to me. For instance, the adorable-looking Body Shop pots, the cute tiny softlips stick, the colorful Bonne Bell kinds and stuff like that. Am I losing it? I actually buy lip balm because I like to look at it and not because of its benefits! is this a form of an addiction as well?? I have about 15 kinds in my purse and I love to look at them and touch them and unscrew them any time of the day(!!!!)
You're another victim of the Industry of Addiction! However, you're lucky enough to have not gotten hooked on the substance, just the packaging. We've been reporting how the balm companies are using the attractive packaging to sell to children and others and you're a prime example. Take solace in the fact that not only are you not addicted, but that you actually hate the stuff. Amen!

Adrienne D. writes:
Last night a friend of mine came over to my house to watch a movie for a couple of hours. When she returned to her car to leave there was some sort of lip balm squirted all over the handle of her car. The morons who put it there must have intended for her to open the door and get nasty lip balm crud all over her hands, however, instead of putting it on the inside of the handle where it would have been obscured they put it on the outside where it was in plan sight. We scraped it off the handle and took the substance inside for further examination. It the consistently of Vaseline but had a sort of minty, menthol smell. It had been squirted neatly on the handle as if came from one of those Vaseline or Blistex tubes. What do you think it was? Do you think it could be part of some larger lip balm conspiracy?
We doubt it. It probably was some Carmex addicts trying to rid themselves of their agony and they coated your friend's car in desperation. Don't feel mad at these folks; if anything, you should feel sorry for them. Feel glad that all they did was coat the car. At least they didn't steal or for God's sake sell their bodies in the balm-induced mania.

Bridget S. writes:
I use my Vaseline Lip Therapy (cherry of course) two to three times a day, usually only when I feel chapped. I also use a liberal amount of plain Vaseline before i go to bed, just so I dont get dried out. If I do, then I start biting them and it all goes downhill from there? Am I an addict in denial? Or am I a safe, conscientious user of lib balm? Please help me.
It depends on several factors. Have you taken our Self Test? Frankly, if you're asking for help, we're thinking that you secretly yearn for the salvation of sobriety! Face your doubts and fears... get help now!

Jane D. writes:
Read about LBA in the Binghamton, New York Press & Sun-Bulletin on Feb. 10, 1997. With Valentine's Day right around the corner I assume the newspaper felt we should all get our lips in shape to pucker up. A local dermatologist offered advice for protecting our poor, dry lips.
I found the article interesting and amusing as I have been a Chap Stick user since high school when I had braces put on my teeth. I never thought of myself as being addicted to Chap Stick only that I always have to use it and never leave the house without it. I wake up in the night and reach for the Chap Stick. I have a cup of tea and reach for my beloved lip balm. I use it all morning, noon and night. When Avon has it on sale I usually purchase 10 at a time. This will usually last me about two months and I sometimes have to go to the drugstore to get more.
A word about Carmex. Whenever I am under a lot of stress I will undoubtedly get a cold sore on the end of my nose (gross). Carmex is great for clearing this unsightly sore up and the smell isn't all that bad.
Anyway, I don't have chapped lips but I can't stand having lips that aren't soft and moist. Does this make me a lip balm addict?
You use all day, and your lips aren't chapped. Yes, that's the idea. If you stopped using then you would know for sure if you're addicted. But everyone reading this knows the answer. Everyone join in... "You're addicted Jane!!!" The good thing is you've come to the right place. The only place to fight this disease! Lip Balm Anonymous!

Rich T. writes:
I really am excited by the possibility that you folks may have the answer to all my problems. But I just need to know.....will LBA help me get my wife back, my job back, and help me buy a new car?
Just like people who suffer from other addictions, balm-aholics often lose everything to maintain their habit; not just their cars or spouses, but their self-respect! And frankly, what could be worse to lose than that? Lip Balm Anonymous will help you recover from your addiction, and we promise you will regain your hope. We can't promise more than that, the hope you will soon feel will give you the ability to get back all that you have lost.

Mac writes:
Just found the LBA Home page and think it's great. I was wondering if during your recovery from Lip balm if you experienced any spiritual components or was it simply a sobering experience. I was also wondering as to your opinion on Lip Balm Moderation and the posibility of controlling its usage rather then total abstinance. Personally I see recovery in this area as more of a Rational Lip Balm (RLB) approach utilizing AVRT techniques rather then any Lip Balm 12-step approaches. It would also seem that a Women Against Lip Balm (WALB) program might be helpful, since obviously women would relate better to other women being that men generally tend to monopolize with their lip balm war-stories.
We're not so sure about your comments regarding men and women, but we do know this: whatever works for you is the right thing to do. Some of us were not able to rid ourselves of the balm without using the 12 Steps. Others are able to take a more relaxed approach by reducing their usage, and still others are able to live comfortable lives with occasional lip balm usage. Those people are just amazing to us... they're leading lives we'll never be able to lead again...

Lendec writes:
I read your 12 step program and came to wonder how this could actually help me. I personally deplore the use of religion in any self-help program. Also, you program functions on the presumption that lip balm addiction is psychological, I think that my own dependency (and that of many others) is physical. If I don't use any lip balm for more than 2-3 hours it can actually cause a burning sensation (often when I wake up after 8-9 hours without balm). What can someone who is already physically dependent do?
I must congratulate you on your efforts however. Perhaps some day all we addicts will get together in a class action suit to stop this industry of addiction...
No, we've never said that balm addiction is purely psychological. It certainly is for some people (just like marijuana and other drugs), but others such as yourself have a physical addiction. THAT'S the thing that some people don't see. They think our addiction is some compulsive disorder like washing your hands repeatedly. To those skeptics we point to people like Lendec here who DO have a problem physically! As for the second part of the letter... are there any lawyers reading our pages?

Anne G. writes:
Has anyone else ever had the experience of having a really bad head cold or allergies and finding tremendous relief in balming your poor, raw, dried out nose? It gives you such great relief that I don't think I could get through a cold without it. The challenge, of course, is to apply lip balm (Chap Stick, usually) to the end of your nose in public without people looking at you as if you had three eyes. What's their problem, anyway?
Sadly, we hardly ever hear about people using lip balm in the nasal area. Do you want to know why? Because many of them never make it all the way back. Sure, some of them are still alive in rehab centers or, more frequently, in asylums. Fate is perhaps kinder on those who "burned out" early and are no longer with us. At least they aren't suffering anymore. The nose should never be used a delivery medium. Not for cocaine and not for lip balm

Angie G. writes:
Is there any lip balm that is not addictive? I mean isn't it true that Chap Stick replaces the natural oils in your lips after long periods of use??? I'm 16 and have been using Chap Stick or some other lip balm for over 10 years. I know I'm addicted but I can't stop?? Isn't there something like nicoderm for smokers, that can help people like me???? please reply!!!
We're not aware of any "non-addictive" balms, despite claims by some manufacturers. That's like asking if there is any kind of non-addictive alcohol. Some people are addicted to all forms of lip balm. As for your question of a "patch" to help with quitting, I wish I could say there was such a product. Write your favorite drug company and demand such a product. Once they see the kind of large market available for such an item, they will start research and development at once! Get writing everyone!

Keith writes:
I'm sorry to say this, but I'm not sure your pages are providing a positive service. As I read peoples' stories of their dried, cracked, and sore lips and of the tie-in with lip-licking, I can't help but remember the days when I had similar problems. Yes, I did lick my lips. It was a habit. No particular harm in the humid summer, but in the winter I suffered, even to the point of occasional bleeding. Can you believe it?--I didn't even know that I licked my lips or that my lip-licking was causing (or exacerbating) the problem.
I learned about Blistex (the original in the little metal tubes). Who could have believed that such a small amount could so well relieve the sore discomfort? At the same time, I also learned that lip-licking was probably the primary source of my problem, so I made a concerted, conscious effort to stop, and I succeeded! It wasn't so hard to do either, given that I was aware of how horrible my lips looked and felt. Of course, once I'd recovered (my lips no longer being sore and red), I no longer had any interest in Blistex. All I had to do was to stop the lip-licking (and that was years ago). [I do, BTW, still have a few tubes of Blistex and a Chap Stick, for times of occasional need, but this is not my problem.]
I noticed, though, in reading peoples' testimonials, a number have shared about lip-licking and moistening, some in fairly graphic and explicit detail. I found myself thinking about licking my lips, and gave in to the urge a number of times. Now, I was careful--I didn't do any big licks, just little ones. Nonetheless, I am concerned and this problem would not have arisen had I not stumbled onto your page. It's the licking itself that's the primary problem. It feels good when lips are dry but ends up just making the situation worse. It's a viscous circle.
It's solitary lip-licking that's the real problem. I have no complaints about shared efforts, such as with kissing, and the associated lip stimulation, because these situations just do not come up all that often. Once one gets started on the solitary lip-licking habit, however, things can very quickly go down hill.
I guess what I am saying is that I don't need to be sitting here at my computer screen reading graphic descriptions of solitary lip stimulation. If people want to talk about that kind of thing, that's OK, but it's not appropriate on a site dedicated to self-help, support and recovery. Accordingly, I am urging people to be aware of this when posting messages.
Congratulations on your continued recovery. You are obviously not much in need of our pages, since you kicked the habit years ago. I sympathize with your premise. However, there are a great number of skeptics who refuse to believe we balm-addicts have a problem. The only way they will believe is for us to tell our stories... in all their shocking details! It ain't pretty being a balm addict... and that's just the least of our problems. Besides, maybe the explicit testimony on our pages will cause some child or teenager to avoid using balm products. If we can save just one child from the horrors of balm addiction then our efforts have not been in vain!

John G. writes:
When I was a teenager in the late 60's I was addicted to a brand of Sea and Ski lip balm that had a particularly compelling orange/mint flavor. The smell was equally, if not more, seductive than the "flavor." In fact, the scent was so intensely pleasing and seemed to offer so much promise that I once bit into the stick to see if more flavor could be derived from a chunk of the wax than from the unsatisfactory few minutes that the balm remained appealing once applied to my lips. The flavor didn't last any longer, by-the-way, so I contented myself to use the stick more as an inhaler than a balm. I still have the orange-capped plastic stick which somehow retains an almost fetish-like nostalgia.
Also, my boyfriend was, for years, addicted to a particularly obnoxious "Dr. Pepper" flavored and scented balm in a burgundy, jumbo tube. I helped break him of this habit as it also colored his lips a rather prissy shade of berry stain that would take days to fade away. While he eventually managed to control his habit, he also couldn't bring himself to toss out the tube and it remains, in a similar way as my own teenage Sea and Ski, a powerful totem.
Have others experienced such continued co-dependency on their balm tubes after breaking their addiction? How much of this addiction is olfactory induced?
Yes, many addicts continue to rely on totems of their past dependency. In your case, I do think the appeal is probably more due to the smell of the lip balm. It is such a sad state of affairs that the balm companies load their "healthy" products with artificial ingredients just to make them smell good. Lip balm, if it is to be used at all, should only be used for medical purposes. In those cases, a good smell is just not needed!

Gdogg writes:
I just took your self test and obviously, am deliriously addicted. Perhaps the balms that I use have some type of chemical that induces euphoria? I use Avon lip balms (because I get it from a friend wholesale) during the day and evening. However, just before bed, I use Vicks Vaporub. It makes my lips tingle a little and the scent helps ease my congestion (due to allergies). I have found that I will wake up during the night if the Vaporub gets accidentally wiped off. I have to reapply the balm in order to go back to sleep. I searched your testimonials for someone else that uses Vaporub, but saw no one. Am I alone in this? Is the use of Vaporub indicative of a stronger addiction than that of a normal balm user? I need answers...
Is the use of a backrub sign of a strong addiction? You bet! I am very worried about your condition. Vaporub may not be that much more harmful to your lips than the balm, but who know what you'll be trying next? Leave the house now and check into a secure clinic. They will isolate your during your time of withdrawal and may be able to provide the medicine you'll need. We can only hope we're not too late in posting this message...

Trent V. writes:
I came across your web site by accident while surfing the web and at first thought it was a joke. As I started reading it, I realized that not only is it not a joke, but that it makes some pretty good points. I've never met anyone as addicted as some of the people writing the testimonials, however, I did see the pattern in my wife's usage of Vaseline on her lips. In fact, when I questioned her about how often she actually uses it, she said a few (maybe four) times daily. When I asked if she ever tried to quit using it, she said that when she doesn't use it, her lips become dry, chapped and painful. "You're addicted!" I joked (partially serious), telling her about Lip Balm Anonymous and the web site. "Try to give it up for a month" I suggested. She agreed, and pretty much stuck to it, using it only once in the morning for the past two days.
Here's the question: how long does it take, on average, for a person's lips to re-adjust to life without lip balm. My wife is experiencing withdrawal in the form of dry, painful lips and we would like to know how long this should last. I understand that a hard-core Carmex user may have more difficulty than my wife and her mild Vaseline usage. That kind of information on your web site might give people wanting to quit a goal to shoot for, depending on the severity of their addiction.
It is true that every person's lips are different. The withdrawal period can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks! That's why it is so hard to quit. Admitting you have a problem will certainly help, as will the help of supportive friends and family members. Congratulations for helping your wife on your road to recovery!

12-year old Lisa H. writes:
Oh Help! I found out yesterday that the stationary and uniform shop at the school that I attend sells Chap Stick plain, Chap Stick strawberry, and, CHAP STICK MEDICATED!!!!! I am applying the medicated sort at the moment because I am addicted! Is there any way I can convince my school that Chap Stick IS an addictive substance and make them stop selling it?
To all members of the educational community: please stop enabling the addictions of our children! As educators you should be aware of the harmful effects and addictive qualities of lip balm. Read the pages on the LBA Web site for more information. Feel free to contact us if you would like more information! We will send LBA members to talk to the kids about how to avoid the peer pressure and stop using lip balm!

"My Friend is Addicted" writes:
What can he do?? He is addicted to lip balm, specifically "Cats in the Cradle --Herbal Lip Balm." The can (which is rather large in size) was full about one year ago, but now, well it is just about empty!! And as I write this he informs that he has yet another lip balm (make that 3 other types) of lip balm that he uses on a regular basis (regular means about 10-15 times a day!). He claims that his use is for cracked-dry lips and that mid-eighties shiny lip look.
But we have come to the conclusion that as a man he has this need to exhibit his feminine side, since his drag look failed about a year back!! I mean we understand that he needs to have this exit to express his female feelings, but we are a little concerned because he seems to use the lip balm constantly, even when you are talking to him, well he will pull out his tin of shine and smear it all over his is just so sad!!
Do you have any suggestions how we can help him stop this insane use, but provide him with his female exit?? This letter is honest...really...we do have this friend who has an obsessive need to always have lip balm on his lips, claiming they are dry and all, so what can we do, intervention of some sort??? Take the tin away from him??? HELP!
We have yet another friend who seems to be addicted to lip balm too. The exact source of this addiction is unknown. However, he claims that he inherited the need for the balm from his father. This brings us to the conclusion that this Lip Balm Addiction issue is stronger than we thought. It starts at a very young age and just seems to escalate into this need that cannot be fulfilled enough.
Now come on, okay your lips are dry, so you just need a little of lip care to make them soft again. But this need to apply the Chap Stick even when lips are soft and gentle is crazy! But this is his problem, exactly! Similar to the friend with the female basis, this guy carries it in his pocket, applies as he talks to you, applies it when he is I don't know about you, but tuna and Chap Stick just do not mix! Anyway, he needs help.
We tried explaining to him (you can use this advice because it is true), the best topical application for dry lips is plain old petroleum jelly. These brand name Chap Sticks and glosses contain alcohols which are drying agents and therefore dry out you lips more...making you apply more! Plus, petroleum jelly is not flavored or anything, so it tastes bad, making you want to stop using it as soon as possible.
So, we tried the technical/medical approach and got no where. Any suggestions??
Hmm... you have two friends who are addicted? Are you sure you aren't really asking for yourself? Perhaps you're in denial and using this as a ruse for your own tortured life? In any case, the answer is clear. For some people, quitting is just a matter of not using. Others can go "cold turkey" or wean themselves from the balm. But your "friends" are in more desperate shape. In those cases, we recommend an intervention by someone familiar with 12-step programs. Get your "friends" started right away following the 12-steps. This is the only way I can see...

Dan D. writes:
I am a recovering addict, been clean for a year, cold turkey. It started with the flavored Lipsyl, then the little tins that had that dentist's fluoride kind of disgusting taste, and finally I moved on to the Blistex that was minty and kind of burned my lips when I first put it on. My problem is what to do when I kiss somebody wearing lip balm. You reach a certain point where you can't back out, but it's like a recovering alcoholic kissing somebody that has been drinking all night. You give them a little extra tongue trying to feed of remnants of booze floating around their mouths. Sometimes I'll be kissing a girl and I can name the brand and flavour and all these wonderful memories start coming back. Then I think that if I start again, my life will return to the way it was when I was an addict. I only remember the good times, but I know deep down it was a living hell. Do I have to stop kissing all together?
No, no, no! Thankfully, there is a simple answer to your problem: don't kiss people wearing lip balm! This may be easier said than done, but perhaps you could strike up a conversation with one of the ladies at your LBA meetings... Or try other people in recovery... they will be sensitive to your (and our) plight.

Randi R.. writes:
What is the LBA's stand on social balming? For example, if you and a group of your friends are skiing, for example, and someone in the group begins to apply, sometimes it just seems appropriate to balm, too.
So it's more situational and responsible using, rather than wanton abuse.
Do you think this is acceptable?
We'd all like to think we can handle ourselves in these situations. "Just a little hit to get me through the day" are often the last coherent words spoken by the true addict. The next thing you know, they're in the ski lodge restroom with the pot of Carmex! The last thing we need is for people to be skiing when they're balmed! All recovering addicts must resist the peer pressure which lurks in almost every social situation. Your inner strength must keep you going... not the balm!

Brooke A. writes:
Well I am really concerned about my friend. I think she is really addicted to lip balm. I bought her Kiehl's formula #1 lip balm thinking she would stop putting on her other lip balm all the time (like every 20 min.). So this balm is supposed to make your lips smooth and gorgeous! But she still continues with a reapplication every 20 min . I feel that I have contributed towards her addiction. I feel really guilty I want to help her. She carries her lip balm with all the time in her pocket next to her bed. What can I do to help her? Is she a addict or am I just overly concerned? HELP!!!!!!
Don't feel guilty. Some people get in over their heads and others don't. We can see you're concerned, and that's a good thing. Talk to your friend about her problem, and send her to our Web site. That's the least you can do, and soon your friend will be on her way to recovery.

Effie writes: new!
Has LBA explored the role of oral fixation in lip balm addiction? Are there cases of lip balm users gaining weight while trying to quit because eating is used as a substitute for the stimulation of applying lip balm? My mother's experience is testimony to the possibility of a connection between the tactile stimulation involved in using lip balm and its addictive capability. My mother was able to quit using lip balm with the aid of an exercise that served as a substitute for the stimulation of applying balm to her lips. Anytime she felt a craving for lip balm during her withdrawal period, she puckered her lips and using a circular motion rubbed them with the back of her hand. This relieved her craving, and in two weeks she had no more cravings at all, suffering no chapping. She told me about this technique as a possible way to quit my own addiction to lip balm. Although I am not ready to risk the painful and unattractive withdrawal symptoms of quitting lip balm in order to test her treatment, I offer this information to LBA in the hopes that hand-to-mouth resuscitation may help others on the road to recovery from lip balm addiction.
This sounds like something that could work for some people. There is absolutely a connection between balm addiction and oral fixations! What we need to strong, scientific studies to prove what we already know! Thanks for the tip.

Dave P. writes: new!
I've read your page, and I can see the humor, but as in all humor, it is only funny because there is a grain of truth to it. I started my continuous use of lip balm in early 1988. Since then I have gone through almost every brand of lip balm product, refining my products to my lip needs. At one point I had to carry around 3 different lip balm products to prevent painful lip dryness. Some products are too vaselinesque, and do not properly moisturize. Other products are too moisturizing, and do not have durability. Used in combination, these products can satisfy my lips needs. However, five years ago I found a single product which has suited my needs ever since. Please note that it is not my intention to prosteltize. If you are not using lip balm, do not start. However, if you are already addicted and find that you are continually switching products to keep your lips happy, might I recommend Lip Medex. It is made by Blistex in the small blue jar.
I would also like to address the topic of whether this continued long term use of lip balm, and the intense discomfort associated with cessation of use can properly be termed addiction and withdrawal, respectively. I have similar long term use, and discomfort with cessation of the use of another item called food. However, no one has ever suggested to me that I might have an addiction to food. I would like to see an empirical test of the assumption that lip balm usage causes the need for lip balm usage. Perhaps apply lip balm regularly to 100 people who currently do not use lip balm. After one month cease the applications, and get a measure of how many of them now need lip balm (additionally, one hundred other people could not get lip balm for the month, and count the number of them that needed lip balm after the month to get a control group). Any volunteers?
David, you raise some interesting points. You're extremely misguided however, probably because you're still "under the influence" of lip balm. It is ludicrous to compare the "use" of food with the "use" of lip balm. One is a basic necessity for life and the other is an occasionally harmful shortcut to get "healthy" lips. I do wish we could do some scientific studies, however. Please, get healthy first and then worry about the rest of us later. Good luck!

Last updated on December 26, 1998
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